Sazonova T.U.


Psycholiguistic research of strategies of word indetification.


Two pilot experiments were made to investigate the process of identification of 24 new Russian polymorphimic adjectives, subjects being Russian native speakers. Only printed words were used in the experiment. The experimental techniques included the individual estimation of the degree of novelty of the stimulus word, the psychological subjective scaling, the method of free association, the subjective definition of meaning of the stimulus word, and some others.

The data of psycholinguistic experiments were analysed by grouping the responses according to their relation to the stimulus word. This resulted in the construction of an integrative data field for each stimulus word, that reflected all identification strategies and models for linking items in the mental lexicon and the priority basis chosen for identification (formal or semantic). The complex experimental techniques and a specially created procedure of analysis of the obtained data helped to trace certain universal strategies of accessing items in the mental lexicon and to reveal some peculiarities of identification of words which have different semantic or morphological structure or belong to different parts of speech.

Two major classes of the model have been proposed to account for how words are recognised - direct-access models (W. D. Marslen-Wilson, J. Morton) and search-models (V. Fromkin). Though both have been used for theoretical interpretation of the empirical data, they proved to be not sufficient for explaining all the evidence. More successful were interactive models (A.A. Zalevskaya, J. L. McClelland ) which treat the mental lexicon as a dynamic functional system and an integral part of human cognitive abilities. The items in the mental lexicon are viewed as the products of a complex interaction of perceptual, cognitive, emotional and verbal experience stored in one's memory and simultaneously utilised at different levels of consciousness when a word provides access to interconnected fragments of the personal knowledge and world image.

Sept 1999